PHOENIX, May 16 -- Student projects involving a navigational system for the blind, possible discovery of an ancient coastline on Mars and an inexpensive "lab on a chip" for analyzing flavonoids received top honors last week at the 2005 Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (Intel ISEF). The students -- Ameen Abdulrasool, of Chicago; Gabrielle Alyce Gianelli, of Orlando, Fla.; and Stephen Schultz, of Gelsenkirchen, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany -- won the top prizes in their project categories; they were among 1447 who competed in the 56th year of the international event.
Abdulrasool, 18, was awarded the top prize in the behavioral and social sciences category for his project, "Prototype for Autonomy: Pathway for the Blind." He developed a self-contained navigational system for the visually impaired that combines GPS technology, verbal directional signals and vibratory signal devices worn as bracelets. Abrulrasool's project was inspired by his father, who is blind.
Gianelli, 17, won the top prize in space science for her project, "Fractal Dimension Analysis of Putative Martian Coastlines." Gianelli used a topographic map of Mars and statistical methods to analyze geologic features that could indicate an ancient ocean coastline. She said she believes that understanding more about the geologic history of Mars will help foster a better understanding of Earth's geology.
Schulz, 19, was awarded for his chemistry project, "From Synthesis to Analysis of Radical Inhibitors." Schulz developed new electrochemical methods to analyze flavonoids, strong radical inhibitors that may combat cancer and other diseases. He miniaturized his process to create an inexpensive "lab on a chip" that has the potential for widespread use in research.
The top-scoring student in each project category receives a $5000 scholarship and a laptop computer from Intel. Those students' schools and fair directors also receive $1000 to benefit science and mathematics education and to encourage more student involvement in science.
For more information, visit: www.sciserv.org/isef